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Biology - 2e

(70 reviews)

Mary Ann Clark, Fort Worth, Texas

Jung Choi, Marietta, Georgia

Matthew Douglas, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Copyright Year: 2018

ISBN 13: 9781947172517

Publisher: OpenStax

Language: English

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Reviewed by Chris Osgood, Assoc Professor, Old Dominion University on 12/11/23

excellent coverage for our 100 and 200 level courses. I think we could use the Biol2e online text to serve multiple courses read more

Reviewed by Jaira Ferreira de Vasconcellos, Assistant Professor, James Madison University on 8/18/23

The textbook is comparable to other General Biology textbooks with most topics presented in a similar manner and with comparable level of complexity. It is a solid textbook that can be used in the classroom in lieu of other paid textbooks. read more

Reviewed by Rick Roberts, Associate Professor of Biology, Grace College on 5/11/23

In comparison with other General Biology textbooks, most topics are covered at the same level of depth, although some areas don't have quite the same level of detail (for instance, regarding transport of water/minerals/nutrients in the plant body). read more

Reviewed by Urbi Ghosh, Science, Adjunct Faculty, Bunker Hill Community College on 2/24/23

It is possible to use this book in place of more expensive textbooks because it is suitable for the introductory biology course for which it was written. The book included biological themes beginning at the cellular level and progressing all the... read more

Reviewed by Laurie Lawson, Associate Professor, Tidewater Community College on 1/30/23

This online textbook covers most chapters for the biology 101 and 102 courses taught at TCC. There is a comprehensive table of contents, index, and "Key Terms" page for each section. read more

Reviewed by Debora Christensen, Associate Professor, Drake University on 12/30/21

The textbook’s content and depth of coverage are comparable to current commercial introductory biology textbooks. At approximately 1,500 pages, the book is slightly longer than other books we’ve used, but the additional length may be due to the... read more

Reviewed by Jeffrey White, Assistant Professor, Framingham State University on 6/22/21

The book covers everything a traditional introductory biology major textbook covers at an average level of detail, organized in the usual hierarchy from atoms to ecosystems. A glossary of key terms is provided for each chapter. read more

Reviewed by Mark Wagner, Instructor/Life Sciences, Portland Community College on 6/14/21

I found the book to cover the topics in good depth, definitely a lower division, major-level text read more

Reviewed by Eric Johnson, Associate Professor, Virginia Wesleyan University on 5/7/21

For the topics most commonly covered (Cellular Resipration, Mitosis, etc...), this book does a good job. For some of the less frequently taught concepts (Algae/Protist diversity) the sections are a little thinner than other non-OER texts. read more

Reviewed by Alyssa MacDonald, Assistant Professor of Biology, Leeward Community College on 4/23/21

While it is challenging to cover all Biology content in an introductory text, the book is an excellent substitute for the previous Biology text we were using. The online accessibility allows one to search the contents of the book, making it... read more

Reviewed by Archana Lal, Associate Professor of Biology, Labette County Community College on 4/6/21

The book is quite comprehensive and covers all aspect of biology that one can choose from to cover in an introductory biology course. read more

Reviewed by Eric Goff, Biology Professor, Midlands Technical College on 3/22/21

Content-wise, Biology -2e very closely aligns itself with most traditional introductory Biology text books. The topics are arranged in a typically progression and build on one another in a traditional fashion. The concepts are covered fully and... read more

Reviewed by Mark Wagner, Instructor/Life Sciences, Portland Community College on 1/10/21

The text integrates in-depth concepts over a broad range of topics. The text provides students with current, relevant information in a progression of topics and concepts based on empirical data and basic science. Support resources at the end of... read more

Reviewed by Julia Mabry, Adjunct Faculty, Clatsop Community College on 12/18/20

I have used chapter 1-16 of this book for a 100-level community college class "Integrated Chemistry and Cellular Biology for Healthcare Professionals". I have found the content for this purpose mostly comprehensive, with some need to supplement.... read more

Reviewed by Rhonda Hattar, Professor, Community College of Aurora on 8/12/20

Like most Biology textbooks, this was hit or miss for me. This is often a matter of opinion across Biology professors, so that is not surprising. I felt like there was too much detail on some processes, and too little detail on other topics. ... read more

Reviewed by Marisa Cases, Adjunct Professor, Middlesex Community College on 6/25/20

This textbook includes more depth than the current publisher's edition. More vocabulary is presented which is a good thing to expose the students to. read more

Reviewed by Beth Graham, Part-Time Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/23/20

I teach "Cell Biology for Health Occupations" at a community college, and we currently use an abridged version of Pearson's Campbell Biology in Focus textbook. The first third of this Biology 2e text is roughly equivalent to our abridged version... read more

Reviewed by Samuel Flaxman, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Boulder on 6/11/20

The PDF of the text is over 1500 pages in length, making it very long (by print standards). I found chapters and subheadings on nearly every topic that I expected to see in a biology text for majors. The chapters are organized into 8 main units.... read more

Reviewed by Kara Nuss, Instructor, Northeastern Illinois University on 5/5/20

Overall, the coverage of subjects is appropriate for an introductory majors-level textbook that would be used across two (or more) semesters. Like many other biology texts, the book begins with an introductory chapter on the nature of science,... read more

Reviewed by Lisa Johansen, Senior Instructor, University of Colorado Denver on 4/20/20

The text book covered all the chapters I would assign for first semester General Biology course at the college level (Molecules to Cells). The chapters are divided into topical sections, making it easy to assign or not assign specific topics. Each... read more

Reviewed by Aruna Kilaru, Associate Professor, East Tennessee State University on 4/13/20

This book will serve the purpose of introductory biology and could very well be used in place of the expensive textbooks. The book followed a typical format of introducing biological concepts starting with cell and ending with community biology.... read more

Reviewed by Chris Pantazis, Assistant Professor of Biology, John Tyler Community College on 3/24/20

All areas of introductory biology were covered. This book will suffice in a 2 semester biology course. I found it had enough depth for a majors course while being accessible for non-majors. The index is easy to use in both the PDF and online... read more

Reviewed by Emily Jane McTavish, Asst. Professor, University of California, Merced on 3/6/20

The text covers the appropriate breadth of material in appropriate depth for an introductory biology class. read more

Reviewed by Petra Kranzfelder, Assistant Teaching Professor, University of California, Merced on 3/5/20

This textbook covers the typical introductory biology course topics for biology majors, including chemistry, cells, genetics, evolution, biodiversity, plant and animal form and function, and ecology. One critique is that the learning outcomes at... read more

Reviewed by Sarah Foltz, Assistant Professor, Radford University on 1/14/20

General coverage is good – the text covers all of the areas I’d expect to see in an introductory biology textbook, including behavior, which I find is sometimes overlooked. It’s detailed enough to provide a good foundation for introductory... read more

Reviewed by Lily Arias, Lecturer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on 1/1/20

The textbook is comprehensive; the extent and depth of the topics and concepts covered are at the level required in an introductory course for biology majors. The index at the end of the book and the glossary-“key terms”- at the end of each... read more

Reviewed by Philips Akinwole, Assistant Professor, DePauw University on 10/16/19

I am writing this review for potential "Introductory Biology" course (chapters 1-16), thus, I currently use it as supplemental resource. I think this book is comprehensive for a general biology textbook, but it lacks some depth and breath for... read more

Reviewed by Shaun Blevins, Adjunct Professor, OhioLink on 8/15/19

This textbook provides an excellent discourse on the many foundational ideas of Biology. I found it to be broad in scope but still provided the depth you would want in a major's level Biology course. read more

Reviewed by Rachael Detraz, Associate Professer, Edison Community College on 7/31/19

The textbook is comparable to a general biology textbook for majors from any of the major publishers. read more

Reviewed by Emma Murray, Instructor (Biology for majors), Aims Community College on 7/23/19

Overall this text covers each topic in adequate detail and provides enough detail and content for a two semester coverage of biology for majors, especially if this text is used alongside additional instructor input and labs. For example, chapters... read more

Reviewed by Cathy Sistilli, Professor, Biological Sciences, OhioLink on 7/19/19

Good coverage of topics appropriate to a two semester biology majors course. The index is helpful but there is no glossary read more

Reviewed by Christy Fillman, Senior Instructor, CU Boulder on 7/1/19

I am writing this review of the genetics unit from Biology 2e (chapters 11-17) in the context of potentially using this book for an introductory level, one semester genetics course for majors. Note: I have not yet used this book in a class. I... read more

Reviewed by Dan Atwater, Assistant Professor, Earlham College on 6/23/19

The comprehensiveness varies but is overall mostly appropriate. Diversity of life and physiology get a lot of attention and surprising detail for an introductory textbook. Cell biology gets more cursory coverage and evolution is surprisingly... read more

Reviewed by Katelyn Butler, Assistant Professor of Bioogy, Anderson University on 1/9/19

Overall, this book covers the essentials required by an introductory biology textbook. It covers the main topics such as genetics, evolution, and cell biology in sufficient detail. I do wish there was more content on plant biology. read more

Reviewed by Maria Quintero, Graduate teaching assistant, Florida State University on 11/28/18

This seems like a great book for freshman because often at that stage the students are interested in science but are unsure of what branch of science they want to go into. This book teaches them the basics every biology major should become... read more

Reviewed by Joseph Ly, Lecturer, St. Ambrose University on 10/26/18

Is able to cover aspects of biology very well. read more

Reviewed by Anthony Arment, Professor of Biology, Central State University on 10/11/18

No additional comments. read more

Reviewed by Jonathan Karpel, Associate Professor, Southern Utah U on 8/2/18

Yes, this text is much like any of the regular, paper general biology textbooks. It covers all the topics in sufficient detail for the student to succeed. I don’t see any glaring errors in terms of subjects that are missing from the text. The... read more

Reviewed by Dara Wegman-Geedey, Professor of Biology, Augustana College on 6/19/18

Given that this is a text for two semester introductory sequence in biology for undergraduates, it appears to be very comprehensive. I was expecting to see basic cellular biology and a survey of organismal diversity including units on evolutionary... read more

Reviewed by Conner Sandefur, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Pembroke on 6/19/18

This text covers all subject matter used in a one semester introductory biology course. Some of the content, such as mitosis and meiosis, are separated into different chapters, which is different from some of the standard texts used (e.g. Concepts... read more

Reviewed by Thomas Giardina, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware on 5/21/18

This review will focuses specifically on a representative chapter—in this case, Chapter 7: Cellular Respiration. I compare the chapter from Biology 2e to both the first edition Openstax Biology and a traditional introductory text from a major... read more

Reviewed by Chris Trimby, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware on 2/1/18

The OpenStax Biology book has units and chapters that cover all of the major topics that one would consider for a general or introductory Biology course. There seems to be less volume of coverage of Ecology/Evolution compared to Organismal... read more

Reviewed by David Carlini, Associate Professor, American University on 2/1/18

This text is very comprehensive, covering all topics that should be included in a two semester undergraduate introductory biology course for Biology majors/premedical students. I liked the fact that there was a glossary of terms in each section,... read more

Reviewed by Karen Sirum, Associate Professor, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

Core concepts for introductory level college course are addressed in sufficient detail, without overly complicating the material for this audience. Presentation is straightforward, but I find that supplementing with additional web based teaching... read more

Reviewed by Laura Lambert, Administrative and Professional Faculty, James Madison University on 2/1/18

I focused in on Chapter 15: Genes and Proteins. I found that the level of detail is appropriate for a lower level undergraduate biology course. All major topics I would normally include to cover this topic are included (central dogma, codons,... read more

Reviewed by Dilrukshan Wijesinghe, Associate Professor, LaGuardia Community College on 2/1/18

The book is comprehensive and suitable for use in a 2-semester (year long) college-level biology/science majors general biology sequence. It compares well in this regard with widely used textbooks such as Campbell Biology, Biological Science by... read more

Reviewed by Paul Heideman, Professor, College of William and Mary on 6/20/17

I am reviewing this textbook not for a first year course in introductory biology, but for a second-year one-semester course on the integrative biology of animals. For “Integrative Biology: Animals”, I need a biology textbook with three types of... read more

Reviewed by Stan Guffey, Faculty Scholar, University of Tennessee on 6/20/17

Biology (OpenStax) is as comprehensive as, and follows the general topical format of a commercially available introductory biology textbook designed for life science majors. Comprehensiveness in an introductory biology textbook is a daunting... read more

Reviewed by Alex Werth, Professor, Hampden-Sydney College on 6/20/17

The book is nicely comprehensive in its overall selection of units and chapters—all the basic components of any standard semester-long or year-long general biology course for majors or a mixed nonmajors/majors audience. All topics are covered... read more

Reviewed by Melissa Kilgore, Biology Instructor, Lane Community College on 6/20/17

The textbook covers all of the major topics that I address in a year of non-majors biology. read more

Reviewed by Christopher Sorenson, Instructor, St. Cloud Technical and Community College on 4/11/17

This text book is as comprehensive as the McGraw Hill and Pearson texts that we have been using. It includes both the cell biology and organismal biology required of a 2-semester biology post-secondary sequence. read more

Reviewed by Shalini Upadhyaya, Associate Professor , Reynolds Community College on 2/8/17

After having used the book for major’s biology course for the last 4 semester, I have pleased to say that I content is simple yet efficient and effective. It is provides a baseline for the essential content for a Biology course. However to meet... read more

Reviewed by Theresa Spradling, Professor, University of Northern Iowa on 2/8/17

This book is on par in scope with the commonly used Campbell Biology. The table of contents and index are useful, and the PDF is searchable. My students who use the PDF and iBook versions report that they like being able to search for topics. read more

Reviewed by Raj Nathaniel, Professor, Nicholls State University on 2/8/17

This textbook is mostly suitable for 100 level introductory biology for non-majors. While not in detail, most of the material covered gives the reader a basic understanding of various biological processes. Non-major students who dislike biology... read more

Reviewed by John Lepri, Professor (Biology), University of North Carolina at Greensboro on 12/5/16

Spanning 47 chapters, the OpenStax "Biology" production is as comprehensive as its competitors. The contents list expands readily, and the names of the chapters mirrors those in the competitor texts. Each chapter has a number of small photographs,... read more

Reviewed by Pat Boleyn, Adjunct Faculty, Lane Community College on 8/21/16

The text is comprehensive in its coverage of the typical materials for a non-majors introductory biology course at the 100 level. It has a good online index that is searchable. read more

Reviewed by Ken Carloni, Assoc. Professor, Science Dept. Chair, Umpqua Community College on 8/21/16

Content Depth: A- The depth of content is largely appropriate for a 200-level Biology class. All texts tend to emphasize some areas over others, and this is no exception. Joint and body movement illustrations and descriptions are very detailed... read more

Reviewed by Jennifer Doherty, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington on 8/21/16

This books covers the minimal basics, but not in great detail and isn't comprehensive by any means. There is no theme of how science works or is done. It is mostly a long long list of descriptive paragraphs. I reviewed the book for use in the... read more

Reviewed by Meagan Harless, instructor, Winona State University on 8/21/16

The text covers essential content in sufficient detail for an introductory and/or non-majors biology survey type course. Many topics are covered at a moderate level of depth with additional links provided to content from other sections of the text... read more

Reviewed by Lisa Turnbull, Instructor, Lane Community College on 1/7/16

This text is fairly comprehensive. There are a few areas that I am pleasantly surprised by the detail included, but other areas where I am a little surprised to see detail lacking. read more

Reviewed by Mark Platta, Faculty , Central Lakes College on 1/7/16

Biology was very comprehensive in its covering of general biology topics and the "Link to Learning" feature allows the learner to expand the concept. Often these links provide cutting edge insight into both the research and application to make the... read more

Reviewed by Ashley Gramza, Instructor, Colorado State University on 1/7/16

This textbook is extremely comprehensive, almost too comprehensive. However, I now realize that instructors are encouraged to cut irrelevant material and use relevant material to their coursework. Biology is an extremely broad subject area to... read more

Reviewed by Irving Allen, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech on 6/10/15

This is a very comprehensive textbook that provides an appropriate balance between the different fields of biology. The textbook explains very complex topics in a comprehensive manner and appears to be designed for early term biology and... read more

Reviewed by Robert Sorensen, Professor, Minnesota State University Mankato on 6/10/15

The 8 units this textbook, chemistry through ecology, sufficiently cover the range of topics that would be covered in an Introductory Biology series of courses.The order in which topics are addressed follows the common approach of building from... read more

Reviewed by Jessalyn Sabin, Instructor, Hibbing Community College on 6/10/15

This textbook was comprehensively organized and populated with topics. It covered all of the subject areas that my current General Biology textbook covers. Some current topics, such as epigenetics and biotechnology, were covered very well and... read more

Reviewed by Kristyn VanderWaal, Faculty, Anoka Technical College on 6/10/15

If you are looking for a majors level textbook that covers all the content covered in the vast majority of first semester biology course, this will work for you. The content, as least in the chapters I cover, is extremely similar to my current... read more

Reviewed by Tobili Sam-Yellowe, Professor, Cleveland State University on 1/12/15

The text covers all areas of biology appropriate for first year biology students. Key terms are defined at the end of each chapter. A comprehensive index is provided at the end of the text. Answers to text and chapter questions are also provided. read more

Reviewed by Kuo-Hsing Kuo, Associate Professor, University of Northern British Columbia on 10/9/13

• The text appears to be very comprehensive. The index at the start of the text is very useful for navigation. • The glossary appears comprehensive, however, many duplicates (ie. hydrophobic and Hydrophobic) were noted in the index. Furthermore,... read more

Reviewed by Joan Sharp, Senior Lecturer, Simon Fraser University on 10/9/13

The text covers most necessary areas, but not always with clarity or accuracy. The index and glossary are fine. In Chapter 18, the text only includes the biological species concept, with no discussion of its weaknesses or limitations. Other... read more

Reviewed by Kate Pettem, Instructor, Biology, Camosun College on 10/9/13

The text is well-written and easy to read and understand. read more

Table of Contents


1. The Chemistry of Life

2. The Cell

3. Genetics

4. Evolutionary Processes

5. Biological Diversity

6. Plant Structure and Function

7. Animal Structure and Function

8. Ecology

The Periodic Table of Elements

Geological Time

Measurements and the Metric System

Ancillary Material

  • OpenStax
  • About the Book

    Biology 2e is designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for science majors. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens. Biology includes rich features that engage students in scientific inquiry, highlight careers in the biological sciences, and offer everyday applications. The book also includes various types of practice and homework questions that help students understand—and apply—key concepts.

    The 2nd edition has been revised to incorporate clearer, more current, and more dynamic explanations, while maintaining the same organization as the first edition. Art and illustrations have been substantially improved, and the textbook features additional assessments and related resources.

    About the Contributors


    Mary Ann Clark, Texas Wesleyan University

    Jung Choi, Georgia Polytechnic University

    Matthew Douglas, Grand Rapids Community College

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